Food giant Mondelēz outsources its e-commerce-operation

Food manufacturer Mondelēz International, famous for brands such as Liga, Milka and Prince, recently contracted ModusLink to manage its e-commerce-operation. From its e-commerce distribution centre in Venray, ModusLink handles every aspect of the online orders placed for the coffee brand Tassimo. ModusLink’s senior management team flew in from the USA to the Netherlands to sign the contract and held a joint press conference with Mondelēz to mark the occasion in Venray on 13 May 2015.


 By Marieke Lenstra

CEO John Boucher kicked off with a short update on the company’s huge growth since it relocated its Dutch operations from Apeldoorn to Venray two years ago. From the Venray base, ModusLink takes care of the orders for TomTom’s navigation solutions, GoPro cameras and now also Tassimo, a Mondelēz coffee brand.

Tassimo is one of the 14 brands currently sold by Mondelēz online but the food producer, which also manufactures chocolate, biscuits, cheese, chewing gum and confectionery, intends to grow to 18 e-commerce websites this year. Direct sales to consumers will in no way cannibalise its business with retailers such as Carrefour, assured Niall O’Gorman, Global Director E-Commerce Strategy and Innovation at Mondelēz International.


When discussing the decision for ModusLink, O’Gorman said that he went in search of a partner with multichannel experience who could realise the manufacturer’s growth ambitions. O’Gorman already knew ModusLink from his previous role at Iomega. During the tour of the distribution centre he made it clear that he was very satisfied with the speed at which the logistics company operates.

On the previous evening, he had asked ModusLink whether there was any way to incorporate target group-specific promotions in the order picking process by packing printed flyers and coupons in with the products before dispatch. “This morning they could already point out a physical point in the order pick line where that could be done, and they also showed me what it would mean for the software,” said O’Gorman.

That will enable Mondelēz to run targeted promotions to all hot-chocolate lovers if an associated new product is launched, to offer special follow-up discounts to customers who regularly place large orders, or to include specific offers for individual customers based on their order history, for example.

In addition, O’Gorman said that he sees opportunities for offline promotions such as a product demo in a local Albert Heijn supermarket where customers can try new flavours and get a discount using a special coupon. Only customers who live nearby will receive the coupon in their parcels. Mondelēz is testing these opportunities in the second half of this year.


In an interview with Supply Chain Movement ModusLink’s CEO John Boucher commented that he expects to have a substantial need for supply chain engineers in the future because of the increasing complexity of supply chains. “Every supply chain must be designed as an omni-channel solution which is suitable for different countries and geographical regions while also considering the total landed costs, packaging dimensions, etc.” He also foresaw that the shifts in volume between the various channels could lead to confusion about the role of a distributor in the future.

The matter of data security does not keep Boucher awake at night, nor is he preoccupied by drones, he said. “After all, I don’t spend my whole time thinking about planes, trains and automobiles either. We’ve outsourced the transport. If and when a service partner has the resources, then it could form part of the solution.” For now, he sees no reason to deploy drones to move parcels around in the warehouse. “Robotisation – that’s what will improve our efficiency,” concluded Boucher.